The rapid development of technology for finance has meant that now more than ever CFO’s have an extensive choice when it comes to building resilience.
As the world emerges from COVID-19, finance leaders are starting to look at technology for finance and make their departments leaner. They hope it will take some of the strain off so they can make their departments leaner and more agile in future situations where things could get worse instead of getting better slowly like before when everyone just dealt with what was happening one day after another without any change or improvement expected anytime soon even years down line!
Finance leaders can be forgiven for thinking that there is almost too much of a good thing with financial technology for every occasion and so we thought it might be a good idea to look at the absolute ‘must-haves for any finance team wanting to survive a downturn.
- Use a modern staff expenses system
- Look for a payroll solution that allows ‘self-serve’
- Think about AP & AR automation
- Check out integration managers
- Deal with the bank rec
- Use systems to develop insight
Assess the ‘value-add’ potential
Much of technology for finance is designed to remove some of the manual nature of accounting and our advice is to start by choosing systems that have the potential to remove non-value-add processes.
Using financial technology to ditch manual processes means that staff can be transferred to much more useful tasks whilst technology takes care of the day-to-day work.
Staff expense systems like Rydoo use automated workflows to carry out routine tasks and this can eliminate up to 80% of the work that adds no value for the company and simply distracts finance staff from their core responsibilities.
One of the most challenging areas for finance staff is managing payroll and fielding questions from employees usually takes an enormous amount of time.
Using a modern HR solution that allows employees to self-serve answers to questions is a great way to free up more finance time and make the process more self-sufficient.
An interesting development over recent years has been the advance of AI and machine learning in financial technology.
This is arguably most apparent in payables and receivables processing where systems can learn where important data sits on documents such as invoices and then correctly allocate them to accounts.
Workflow management helps with developing payment profiles and can automate the process from start to finish. For receivables, this also means automating the collection process.
Finance teams often have a series of great individual systems but then have to spend time taking the results and feeding them into the general ledger.
Our advice is to look for systems that integrate well with one another or alternatively find an integration manager like Zapier that will do it for you.
Bank reconciliations are the bane of every young accountant’s life but they have to be done. Unfortunately, a bank rec can take an inordinate amount of time and this is an area that is ripe for revolution.
Look at ways to slim down the process by instituting standardization within descriptions and then search for a method of automating the obvious matches.
Often accounting systems will have an add on that can be purchased or third-party apps like CashMatching or Bank Rec can help
Use financial technology to develop insight
One of the most important aspects of a great finance department is the ability to add insight for the management and directors of a business.
When a company is trying to navigate a financial downturn, this is the one area that can give it the competitive advantage that may mean the difference between coming out in good shape or not.
However, that insight either has to be produced using long-winded manual processes or through the adoption of excellent systems.
The power of financial technology means that data can be marshalled to allow finance leaders to understand the picture both at a macro and a micro-level.
Rydoo is a good example of a modern system that has transparency at its heart and finance leaders should use this as a standard when looking at any technology for finance.
Whenever you are deciding on a new system look at the way that it handles reporting and assess whether it gives staff the chance to add much-needed insight.
Whilst each system may have its own reporting suite it may take a lot of time to combine many solutions into a single picture and if this is the situation you face them you may want to look at specialist technology for finance reporting.
Business intelligence systems like BOARD and Prophix help develop insight across multiple systems and processes bringing together disparate data and giving managers a clearer picture and this reduces the time that reporting takes.
Systems can also be used to allow managers to self-serve data and reports so that they aren’t left waiting for someone in finance to produce these.
Don’t forget though that producing all of this data is one thing, but you need to have the staff to understand it and take action so we’d suggest that alongside the investment in technology for finance you institute a training system that will enhance the reporting and analysis skills within the business.
To survive your team needs to be lean
Major economic downturns are a fact of life and one thing that we have seen over the past decades is that companies that survive are the ones that are lean and agile.
A key part of building in this lean culture is to allow financial technology to take the strain.
Using modern systems with state-of-the-art methods allied to superb reporting is the key to developing your lean finance team.
Ready to equip your team to survive the economic downturn? Contact us today and let’s talk.